“Made In Space, Redwire, and Bigelow, move over,” writes long-time Slashdot reader Dr. Crash. “There’s yet another 3D printing in space group — and it’s not a startup.”
Mitsubishi Electric just went public with a UV-sensitive resin specially made to print in zero-G and in a hard vacuum — as in outside the airlock.
The polymer is tuned to harden with solar ultraviolet light, so no UV lasers needed (saving power and launch weight).
Their first goal? Printing cubesat parabolic dishes in orbit, so a 300mm cubesat could have what looks like a one-meter dish antenna — or anything else that can be freeform-printed.
This “photopolymerization” technology “specifically addresses the challenge of equipping small, inexpensive spacecraft buses with large structures, such as high-gain antenna reflectors,” according to Mitsubishi’s announcement — arguing that it also ultimately “enables on-orbit fabrication of structures that greatly exceed the dimensions of launch vehicle fairings.”
of this story at Slashdot.